Developing swivel technology for today and tomorrow


Swivel stack systems are essential components on FPSOs – allowing them to weathervane to remain bows-on to prevailing winds and weather. To date, we have supplied more than 50 swivel stacks and are committed to continuous improvement through innovative design to meet the changing demands of the energy industry.

Swivel development today

Today, we are involved in every aspect of swivel stack development, from design and manufacture, through testing and commissioning to maintenance during use. To date, we have ‘tailor made’ more than 50 swivel stacks, for many of the world’s leading energy providers. To ensure that the solutions we deliver are right in every detail, we think very hard about what works in practice across our FPSO fleet, but also invest in an extensive research and development program to achieve continuous performance improvement through innovative design.

The roots of our swivel expertise

During the 1970s we made a conscious decision to build our swivel expertise – focusing our efforts on the most critical component in any swivel assembly: the seals. Over the next two decades, our understanding of all aspects of swivel technology increased steadily and from the early 1990s we started to manufacture seals in-house.

We were fortunate to be involved in a great many challenging projects during this period – including Norne and Asgard for Statoil, Anasuria and Curlew for Shell, Schiehallion for BP and P33 and P35 for Petrobras – which provided us with a steep but unique learning curve. As a consequence, these clients and many others have selected us to design and manufacture larger and ever more complex swivels, including Prelude and Quad – 204, the biggest swivel stack ever built by SBM Offshore.

Expertise at every stage

Today, dedicated specialist teams operate in our Swivels and Mechanical parts Department to ensure excellence in every aspect of swivel stack fabrication, testing and installation. We also provide specialist advice concerning maintenance and the replacement of seals once our stacks are in operation.

Facing the future today

We believe that the best time to prepare for the future is today and this is why we invest so heavily in swivel stack research and development. Right now, we are developing the swivel stack technology of tomorrow – testing high power electrical swivels with a capacity of 100MW or even higher and high pressure swivels capable of handling up to 800 bar. At present, materials and technology means that swivels appear to be approaching the edge of their physical limitations; however, we know from experience that innovative thinking can overcome these limitations in time. And with over 30-years’ of forward-thinking behind us, we are confident that we can play a key role in defining the swivel stacks of the future.